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St. Croix redistricting hearing is Thursday

St. Croix County residents are invited to comment on a proposed redistricting plan when the St. Croix County Board holds a special meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Government Center in Hudson.

The board's Administration Committee reviewed six draft plans and chose one that meets all the guidelines, said Senior Planner Ellen Denzer, speaking to supervisors at their May 3 meeting.

The tentative redistricting plan, which sets up the 19 supervisory districts in the wake of the 2010 Census, aims for an ideal district population of 4,439. Only District 14 meets that goal exactly. The greatest deviations are seen in District 15, which has 60 more residents than the ideal, and District 3, which has 50 fewer residents than the ideal.

Denzer said that while splits within communities of interest are minimized, county planners don't look at voting histories when setting district lines.

She said these were among the priorities of the redistricting process:

--Come as close to the ideal size as possible.

--Create districts that are compact and contiguous.

--Preserve "communities of interest," usually neighborhoods, cities, towns or villages.

--District lines should follow easily understood boundaries such as city limits, roads or rivers.

--Minimize splits within a municipality.

--Minimize conflicts with school district lines.

The County Board is expected to vote on the redistricting plan immediately after the May 12 public hearing. The plan will then be sent to municipalities, which will review their ward plans in June and July. The County Board will then adopt its final plan in either August or September.

Once the counties have adopted their plans, the state will begin to develop legislative and congressional districts. After Jan. 1, 2012, all local elections must follow new district lines.

To see a complete map of the proposed districts and statistics, go to the county website,, and click on "2011 County Redistricting" on the right side of the page.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.